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GHS launches first swim team

David Sowders
Posted 8/23/23

Globe High School has added something new to its athletic program – the school’s first-ever varsity swim team, which will

make its competition debut next month.

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GHS launches first swim team


Globe High School has added something new to its athletic program – the school’s first-ever varsity swim team, which will make its competition debut next month.

The team’s roster – according to, there are 13 boys and 11 girls – includes both new swimmers and experienced swimmers from the CCYS Piranha summer team, and its logo blends the tiger and the shark, reflecting its nickname: the Tiger Sharks. The team, which will compete in AIA Division III, recently started twice-a-week morning practices at Globe’s Community Center Pool. Their first meet will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday, September 21, at Coolidge High School, where they will take on the host Bears and the Morenci Wildcats. The Tiger Sharks’ current schedule also includes two qualifying meets: the Sept. 30 Saturday Night Fever invitational at Chandler High School and the Oct. 21 Buckeye Union High School District Championship-Last Chance Qualifier, hosted by Buckeye Union High, at the Buckeye Aquatic Center.

They are led by head coach Barry Schwenk, who has coached the  Piranha team for six years, and assistant coach Sarah Steele, who are no strangers to competitive swimming. Schwenk swam through high school – he was part of his own school’s very first team – where he was on a relay team that qualified  for Junior Olympic time trials, as well as summer age-groups. Steele, a counselor at Globe High School and High Desert Middle School, participated in age-group swimming from age 6 through high school, then competed in the swimming portion of triathlons. Helping out as volunteers are three parents who have taken coach training. To keep practices safe, six members of the team are also lifeguards who take turns out of the pool to watch over swimmers.

“There will be some longer races the kids have to learn, and the competition level is higher,” Schwenk said of the differences between the Piranha team and the varsity level.

Creating the new team, said Schwenk, was an idea that came up early in the City of Globe’s process of renovating and reopening the Community Center Pool. “The Piranhas got involved early. We began toying with the idea of, after the Piranha season was over, having a high school team.” He added that he started discussing the idea with Globe Unified School District Superintendent Jerry Jennex around two years ago. And the idea has drawn interest, with 24 students signing up for the new team.

“The CCYS Piranhas have been around a long time but as far as I know we’ve never had a high school varsity team, so we’re pretty excited about that,” said Schwenk. “Both GUSD and the City have been very supportive of making it happen. There’s been a lot of community support as well; it’s been a community effort.

“Cost is the biggest challenge for us,” he added, and that is where having lifeguards on the team helps, by reducing expenses. In addition, he said, some team members take advantage of the pool’s free open swim times to get in extra practice.

The City of Globe’s aims in renovating the pool included creating a competition-ready facility, but while that aim has been achieved the Tiger Sharks will not be hosting meets in this, their inaugural season. “It’s kind of a test season,” said Schwenk. “It will take us some time to learn what the regulations are to host a meet.”

As the swimming season approaches, a group of GHS parents is also forming a booster club for this latest sports program. Anyone interested in the club can contact the school’s athletic office for information.